The Wake - Here Comes Everybody + Singles 2LP
The Wake - "Here Comes Everybody + Singles" 2LP (Captured Tracks)
Here Comes Everybody holds up as a touchstone for aching, atmospheric synth-pop, all slinky guitars, crisp percussion, textured keyboard, and limber bass. "This is a page from my diary," Caesar begins on "O Pamela", which has since been covered by Nouvelle Vague; with a guitar-and-synth intro that uncannily predicts Tears for Fears' far glossier (and more commercially successful) 1985 hit "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", it could be the diary of more recent artists from Washed Out to Youth Lagoon, too. Nor is the album afraid of taking something schmaltzy-- like the embarrassing Don McLean quote on seven-minute "Melancholy Man", or the jaunty harmonica on heartbroken "World of Her Own"-- and investing it with fragile sincerity. Expansively wispy, this is a record best heard as a whole, a missing evolutionary link between Josef K and the Field Mice.
The most immediate examples of the Wake's legacy, however, and the tracks you'll most likely play for your friends, come on disc two, which collects the group's 7" and 12" releases from 1983 to 1987. The ambiguous 1984 single "Talk About the Past", with its twitchy guitar and splashes of piano by the Durutti Column's Vini Reilly, and 1985's loping contemplation "Of the Matter", with its elegaic vividness ("There's a shadow of a shadow moving in"), are both wonderful. But then so is the entirety of 1987's Something That No One Else Could Bring EP, which includes the luminously catchy "Gruesome Castle", with its proto-chillwave hook: "Arise, arise, and keep up appearances." The only relative duds are the murkily sprawled 1983 B-side "Host", with Gillespie, and the dubby finale "Of the Matter (Version)", which at the very least lets the record end with the original song's epigrammatic closing words: "And when you find me, you will find me alone/ Then we'll walk to your house, walk together, walk home."